SBD/20/Sports Industrialists

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         At a postgame news conference, Michael Jordan "sounded like
    a professorial elder statesman, saying he came back to help
    change the image of a league criticized for its young, spoiled
    stars":  "I really felt that I wanted to instill some positive
    things back into the game.  There are a lot of negative things
    that have been happening to the game, and I guess in terms of my
    coming back, I come back with the notion of the Magic Johnsons
    and the Larry Birds and the Dr. J's and all those players who
    paved the road for a lot of these young guys" (Melissa Isaacson,
    CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/20). Jordan's statements "made it clear
    whatever the ratio of knuckleheads to professionals is, it's way
    too high for his liking" (Bryan Burwell, USA TODAY, 3/20).  in
    L.A., Mark Heisler writes, "It's morning again in the NBA" (L.A.
    TIMES, 3/19).  NBC's Bob Costas:  "In a sports world darkened by
    constant talk of money, strikes and lockouts, here's a shining
    reminder of why we're drawn to sports in the first place.  The
    drama, the anticipation, the sheer beauty of the moment.  Today,
    an artist returns to his true canvas the hardwood court of the
    NBA" ("NBA on NBC," 3/19).
         THE DEAL:  According to NEWSWEEK, Jordan will earn $46,000-
    a-game, or about $1M for the rest of the regular season.  The
    weekly also reports that Jordan's agreement includes assurances
    that Scottie Pippen and B.J. Armstrong will remain with the team
    (NEWSWEEK, 3/27 issue).  There is an NBA moratorium on contract
    negotiations until there is a new CBA keeping Jordan and the
    Bulls from talking about a new deal (CHICAGO TRIBUNE, 3/19).
    Jordan said he did not go into talks with Pippen's future in
    mind:  "Of course, I asked about some things" (Mitch Lawrence,
    N.Y. DAILY NEWS, 3/20).  Bulls Owner Jerry Reinsdorf said he
    expects Jordan to play three to four more years (CHICAGO TRIBUNE,
         THE CYNICS?  A few columnists made references to Jordan's
    rumored gambling as a reason for his hiatus.  In Denver, Bob
    Kravitz writes: "Did he really return for what he called 'the
    love of the game?'  Or is he merely finishing off an unannounced
    1 1/2-year ban for his gambling excesses?' ... I don't believe
    there was some backroom deal or some dirty little secret" (ROCKY
    MOUNTAIN NEWS, 3/20).  In Baltimore, Ken Rosenthal writes, "And
    so Michael Jordan's 17-month gambling suspension is over.  That's
    what it was, not that anyone will admit it, not that anyone
    cares, now that we all get to breathe some fresh Air" (Baltimore
    SUN, 3/19).  Reinsdorf:  "Are you telling me then, if he was such
    a hot potato, that he could go right to baseball, which has even
    stricter rules about that stuff than basketball?" (CHICAGO
    TRIBUNE, 3/19).
         ODDS & ENDS:  Jordan had his shorts on backwards during the
    game, with the NBA logo facing the wrong way.  Hoop writer Kent
    Gilchrist wonders if he was marking his return with a fashion
    statement (Vancouver PROVINCE, 3/20).

    Print | Tags: Chicago Bulls, NBA, NBC, Orlando Magic, People and Pop Culture

         NHL Commissioner GARY BETTMAN, Rangers GM & President NEIL
    SMITH and Rangers captain MARK MESSIER led the contingent at a
    Rose Garden ceremony during which PRESIDENT CLINTON was presented
    with a miniature Stanley Cup and a Rangers jersey.  Clinton:
    "We've been trying to arrange this visit for some time, but
    what's a few months to 54 years" (THE DAILY)....Blazers owner and
    Microsoft co-founder PAUL ALLEN will become the "majority outside
    investor" in DreamWorks, the new entertainment company being
    formed by Steven Speilberg, David Geffen and Jeffrey Katzenberg.
    Allen will reportedly invest about $500M, giving him a stake
    "equal to or just under 20%" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 3/20)....
    Royals VP GEORGE BRETT is negotiating to buy the Duluth Dukes of
    the Northern League, with RUSH LIMBAUGH as one of his partners
    (Peter Gammons, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/19)....The NHL has hired KEN
    ROSEN away from NBA Entertainment. He will now be in charge of
    NHL Productions, a new division in charge of various video
    productions (Kevin Paul Dupont, BOSTON GLOBE, 3/19).... Sources
    say JIM CORNO, VP/GM of SportsChannel Chicago, has expressed an
    interest in becoming President of MSG Network (Bob Raissman, N.Y.
    DAILY NEWS, 3/19)....BONNIE BLAIR was interviewed on ABC's "Good
    Morning America" on her retirement from skating.  Blair:
    "Hopefully I have brought the sport to a newer level, a higher
    level, and given some others something to chase, something to go
    for.  But I am going out on top.  I am happy" (ABC, 3/20).

    Print | Tags: ABC, Kansas City Royals, Madison Square Garden, Microsoft, NBA, NHL, People and Pop Culture, Walt Disney
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